Few-foods diet leads to a significant decrease in ADHD symptoms

Children whose ADHD symptoms were drastically reduced after following a few-foods diet showed increased activity in a specific part of the brain. The more significant the change in behavior, the more the activity in this part of the brain increases. In finding this, researchers of Wageningen University & Research have, for the first time, shown a relationship between a decrease in ADHD symptoms and increased activity in the brain after a diet.

These results were published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.

It is an important step in research on nutrition and ADHD. We have shown that the subjective observation of behavior is objectively confirmed through a brain scan."

Saartje Hontelez of Wageningen University & Research

Precuneus activity

A brain scan (fMRI) was performed on the children at the start and end of the study. After the first scan, the children followed the few-foods diet: they were permitted to eat only a limited number of safe foods for five weeks. A second scan was then done. In over sixty per cent of the 53 children who had good scans both before and after the diet, the parents observed a significant decrease in ADHD symptoms after the few-foods diet. These children also showed a clear increase in precuneus activity, an area that is part of the default mode brain network and perhaps the most connected hub in the cortex.

Previous studies have shown that children with ADHD have lower brain activity in this area of the brain and that treatment with Ritalin increases this activity. Hontelez: 'Our findings match the current knowledge on this area of the brain. We see a similar increase in activity when ADHD symptoms disappear after following the few-foods diet to that seen following medication with Ritalin.'

ADHD and nutrition

Approximately six per cent of all children in the Netherlands suffers from ADHD, an attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity. The symptoms are significantly reduced when these children follow the few-foods diet. Previous studies have shown that at least sixty per cent of children no longer meet the criteria for ADHD after following this diet.

The few-foods diet is difficult to follow and cannot be applied simply. Therefore, it is important to understand the biological relation between nutrition and ADHD better. Wageningen University & Research is now also studying the role of the microbiota (the bacteria in the intestines) to further unravel how the diet works.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Novel molecule could inform new therapies for stroke-related brain injury